Hospitals’ Trust – People’s Strategy

Responding to requests for comment from local media on the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust Board Paper “Our People Strategy 2013-18”, West Cornwall MP Andrew George said:

“It is right that the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust has published its plans and is consulting with staff and the public.  I welcome the Trust’s commitment to enhance registered nurse to care support worker ratios and registered nurse to bed/patient ratios.

“However, it is very important that the Trust does not muddle the distinction between registered nurses and trained care assistants (referred to in the plan as “Assistant Practitioner”).  Registered nurses are the lead clinicians on the ward and it is they who carry the can.  I welcome the Trust’s commitment to train and register care assistants.  But they are clearly not equivalent to registered nurses.

“The anticipated staff cuts will be most controversial.  However, this is one of the inevitable consequences of the policies of successive governments to favour private companies in the provision of routine health and hospital procedures.

“For example, 5-10 years ago I doubt there were many NHS patients in the Duchy Hospital next door to the Royal Cornwall Hospital, nor NHS in patients going to the Treatment Centre in Bodmin.  The Duchy was a private hospital for fee paying patients.  Now the rapidly expanding private company who run Duchy Hospital is predominantly managing NHS patients who, in the past, would have gone to the Royal Cornwall Hospitals.

“The Labour Government rolled out the red carpet for the private sector and this Government is going to make it even easier for the private sector to cherry pick the easier, less risky work from public sector hospitals like the Royal Cornwall.  This presents challenges and I am pleased that the Board is being honest about the potential impact this will have on staffing levels and activity.

“It is wrong that the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust is having to face these pressures at the same time as it continues to struggle with a legacy debt which should have been written off and will have to manage a budget where it receives the lowest tariff for the procedures it performs.

“As well as working with staff and the public to find the best way forward, I hope that the Trust will work with those of us who believe that the Government could give Cornwall a better settlement, thus helping to lift some of the burden off the shoulders of our excellent and hard working front line NHS staff.”

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